Kindred Healthcare to add 500 jobs, new building in downtown Lou - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Kindred Healthcare to add 500 jobs, new building in downtown Louisville

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Rendering of Kindred's new building Rendering of Kindred's new building
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Kindred Healthcare plans to add 500 white-collar jobs at its Louisville headquarters over the next 3-5 years and to construct a six-story, 142,000-square-foot office building on the Theater Square property in downtown Louisville.

Gov. Steve Beshear and Mayor Greg Fischer announced the expansion Thursday after the state formally approved an offer of $11 million in economic development incentives to the company, which plans to spend nearly $40 million on the new building.

The average pay for the 500 jobs will be $32.60 an hour – an amount that includes the value of employee benefits such as health insurance, according to the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority.

“These are going to be great jobs,” said Ben Breier, Kindred's CEO-elect, in an interview following the announcement. “These are going to be information technology jobs, these are going to be people on the financial and accounting side of the world. These are going to be human resource-related folks; people who are helping us with reimbursement, billing and collecting.”

The expansion plans come two months after Kindred announced it would buy Atlanta-based Gentiva Health Services, creating "the largest operator of long-term acute care hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation facilities in the United States, as well as the nation's largest provider of rehabilitation, home health and hospice services."

And last month, Kindred said it would buy Franklin, Tenn.-based Centerre Healthcare, a rehab hospital operator.

A “good portion” of the new jobs will be filled by Centerre and Gentiva employees transferring to Louisville as Kindred integrates those two companies into its operations, Breier said.

The new office building on Kindred's campus is long overdue, Breier said. About 200 of the company's 1,200 headquarters employees are in an office building at 4th Street Live because of a lack of space at 4th and Broadway, he said.

The new building will be adjacent to Kindred's current six-story headquarters at 680 S. 4th Street, which was built in 1992.

Property records show Kindred spent $3.3 million buying the three retail buildings that surround the city-owned clock at Theater Square, including the buildings that house Yafa Café and the Bluegrass Brewing Co.

Those buildings will be demolished to make way for the new office building, with work tentatively scheduled to start in the summer. Construction will take about two years.

Breier could not say if Kindred would buy the restaurants out of their leases, but he said there would be “a resolution” to allow for the new building.

Fischer said the announcement is "just a dream come true from a city standpoint" and will bolster the city's reputation as a hub for aging-care companies such as Kindred, Atria Senior Living and Almost Family.

Asked whether Kindred ever considered moving its headquarters instead of expanding in Louisville, Breier said it was always the company's “first desire” to stay, but executives owed it to employees and shareholders “to make sure that we were looking and thinking about all the different options that were available to us…

“There were people across the country that had interest in kind of how we were thinking about our expansion … But when push came to shove, it became clear that expanding here was the place we wanted to be.”

Kindred was founded in Louisville in mid-1980s. It was known as Vencor until 2001, when it changed names after emerging from bankruptcy.

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